Friday, October 13, 2006
BOH seeks well to monitor large Coventry Woods septic system
Due to concerns that the proposed Coventry Woods revised septic system could have an impact on the wells of abutting property owners, the Carlisle Board of Health (BOH) decided to recommend that developer Mark O'Hagan install a water quality monitoring well downhill from the largest of the three septic systems for the 41-unit development proposed for 21 acres on Concord Street. During review of the updated plans at their October 3 meeting, BOH members agreed that testing water from the monitoring well would help detect any septic effluent in the ground water, allowing enough time for action to be taken to protect the abutters' wells from becoming contaminated. Of particular concern to the board is the well on the Epstein/Stone property which is only about 150 feet downhill from septic system C.
The BOH recommendations were in response to revised plans for a 40B (affordable housing) development submitted by O'Hagan to the Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA) on Monday, September 25. The ZBA has asked all town boards involved with the application to review the new plans and respond before the ZBA's next meeting on October 16.
Because 25% of the units will meet state affordability criteria, the developer is allowed under state statute Chapter 40B to bypass the normal local permitting process, and instead seek a comprehensive permit from the ZBA.
The new plans show three septic systems, a change from five systems in the previous plan. As far as the BOH is concerned, one of the most important changes in the plan is the increased size of the redesigned septic system C, which has absorbed the two eliminated systems. "It looks like it's almost as big as a football field," remarked BOH member Jeffrey Brem when he looked at the new plans. Upon closer calculation, the 260-foot x 180-foot mound would be a little under 80% of the size of a football field. Since the system will be located on a hill with a slope of 3:1, a large amount of fill must be added to meet the existing grade, creating a mound the plans state will rise up to seven feet above ground level. "It's a dramatic change," noted Brem. "It will have a large impact on the area."
While noting that the septic system will probably meet state Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Title 5 standards, the board would still like the developer to explore alternative technology septic systems that might require a smaller leach field, thereby increasing the distance between the septic system and the abutting Epstein/Stone well.
© 2006 The